A Grab Bag from America’s Back Roads – The F Things #AtoZChallenge

In 2018 I  will feature a random (yet alphabetical) selection of photos I have taken from my nearly 20 years of back roads travel in the United States and Canada.  I may even throw in a few random shots from other trips to Japan, Mexico and the Philippines. My theme is called America’s Back Roads: A Grab Bag of Places in Pictures.

 

Feely, Montana

Feely, Montana

Fiberglass Snowman – Lewisburg, West Virginia

Huge snowman in Lewisburg, WV

Fireplace of States – Bemidji, Minnesota

Fireplace of States in Bemidji, MN

Fat Smitty’s – Port Townsend, Washington

Fat Smitty’s, a burger joint near Port Townsend, WA.
Fat Smitty’s ceiling covered with money.

Futuro Flying Saucer House – Covington, Kentucky

The Futuro House in Covington, KY

Four Corners – Teec Nos Pos, Arizona

Four Corners – July 15, 1993

Frank L. White Grave Marker (The Cream of Wheat Guy) – Leslie, Michigan

Grave Marker of Frank L. White, the man featured on Cream of Wheat boxes.  In Woodlawn Cemetery, Leslie, MI

Frostop Root Beer – Ashton, Idaho

Frostop Drive-in – Ashton, ID

Fair Play, South Carolina

Fair Play SC
Fair Play, SC

Fisherman’s Wharf – San Francisco, California

Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco

Fayetteville, West Virginia

The Hobbit Hole – a unique and quirky shop in Fayetteville, WV

Fisherman’s Dream – Enchanted Highway – Regent, North Dakota

Fisherman’s Dream, one of the many Ginormous scrap metal sculptures on the Enchanted Highway
Sumoflam at “Fisherman’s Dream” on Enchanted Highway in North Dakota

First Church of Peculiar – Peculiar, Missouri

First Church of Peculiar – A Peculiar Church in Peculiar, MO

Fox in the Snow – Grand Teton National Park

Fox on Snow in Grand Teton National Park

Flippin, Arkansas

Flippin, Arkansas
Flippin Police
Flippin Christian Church

Fallasburg Covered Bridge – Fallasburg, MI

Fallasburg Covered Bridge, Fallasburg, MI

Fourway, Texas

Buffalo Mural in Fourway, Texas
Sign to Fourway, Texas

Forest Fire Department – Forest, Mississippi

Forest Fire Department, Forest, MS

Flatrock Coffee – Nashville, Tennessee

Had lunch at Flatrock Coffee in Nashville. Great food and a large collection of one of a kind Antsy McClain art on coffee cups
Antsy McClain art on Coffee Cups — one of dozens of original pieces on display at Flatrock Coffee in Nashville

Flying Saucer Monument – Mars, Pennsylvania

Flying Saucer in main town square in Mars, PA

Friendship, Arkansas

Found Friendship in Arkansas
Friendship Police Department

Frank Sinatra Park – Hoboken, New Jersey

Blue Eyes Pizza and Gelato in Frank Sinatra Park

Flower Man House – Houston, Texas

Flower Man House – Houston, Texas

Fly, Ohio

Fly, Ohio

Future City, Illinois

Sign to Future City, Illinois…I guess it is not there yet??

Fox Theatre – Detroit, Michigan

Fox Theatre – Detroit, Michigan

Frog Pond Bar-B-Que – Frog Pond, Tennessee

Frog Pond Bar-B-Que – Frog Pond, Tennessee

Fossil Rim Wildlife Center – Glen Rose, Texas

Fossil Rim Wildlife Center in Glen Rose, Texas
Angry Ostrich at Fossil Rim

Flood Wall Murals – Paducah, Kentucky; Jeffersonville, Indiana; Point Pleasant, West Virginia; Portsmouth, Ohio

Part of Flood Wall Murals in Paducah
One of the many flood wall murals of Jeffersonville, Indiana
Dafford’s History Mural on flood wall in Point Pleasant, WV
Chillicothe Street 1940s by Robert Dafford in Portsmouth, OH

Fort Worth Stockyards – Fort Worth, Texas

Pecos Bill, the giant longhorn for photo ops at the Fort Worth Stockyards
Cowboys – Fort Worth, Texas

Floodwood Catfish – Floodwood, Minnesota

A Catfish monument in Floodwood, MN where they claim to be the Catfish Capital of the World

Friendly, West Virginia

Meeting a Friendly guy outside the Friendly, WV Post Office

Fort Steuben – Steubenville, Ohio

Fort Steuben Historical Site, Steubenville, OH
Historic Fort Steuben

Findlay Market – Cincinnati, Ohio

Findlay Market, Cincinnati
Sumoflam at Findlay Market in the Over-the-Rhine District of Cincinnati

Frontier Bar & Supper Club – Dunkirk, Montana

Frontier Bar and Supper Club – Dunkirk, Montana
Sumoflam and the Mailbox Guy at Frontier Bar and Supper Club

Mount Fuji – Fuji City, Japan

Mt. Fuji framed by Japanese flag, ca. 1978
Mt. Fuji in the trees and clouds (ca. 1978)

Flower Bed Art – What Cheer, Iowa

A “Flower Bed” in What Cheer, Iowa

If you like what you see, you may want to check out my book: Less Beaten Paths of America: Unique Town Names, available on Amazon.  My second book, Less Beaten Paths of America: Quirky and Offbeat Roadside Attractions, will be available in late April or early May 2018. Click on the photo below for more details or to get a copy of the book.

Books 1 & 2

 

A to Z Challenge: The Q Towns #atozchallenge

During the month of April I am participating in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge. The challenge has each blogger select a theme and then do a post thematically from A to Z during each day of April , except Sundays. My blog is number 1337 out of 1670 participating blogs. This year my A to Z posts will take you across the back roads of America to many unique what other bloggers will be posting about, check out the link: A to Z Theme Reveal List for 2016

QThe Q Towns

 

Quincy, Illinois

Welcome to Quincy, Illinois
Welcome to Quincy, Illinois
Bayview Bridge in Quincy, Illinois
Bayview Bridge in Quincy, Illinois

I mentioned the town of Nauvoo, Illinois in my N Towns post a few days ago.  Just down Illinois 96 south of Nauvoo is the town of Quincy, Illinois.  Like Nauvoo, or Hannibal, Missouri, this is a river town.  Full of amazing architecture and history, its a nice place to visit.  I last visited with my family on a trip to Nauvoo back in the late 1990s. We visited on a genealogy excursion as my adoptive mother’s ancestry was also here — the Hanks Family.  Ironically, they lived in Quincy about the same time the Mormons were being persecuted and driven from Nauvoo.  Apparently many of the citizens of Quincy were sympathetic to the Mormon cause and offered their homes to the homeless Mormons before they headed west. I have often wondered if the Hanks family was one of these kind folks.  If you plan on a trip to Nauvoo, definitely take a day and cruise around Quincy.  You’ll be glad you did.

Quartzsite, Arizona

Welcome to Quartzsite, AZ
Welcome to Quartzsite, AZ
The Grave Marker for Hi Jolly in Quartzsite
The Grave Marker for Hi Jolly in Quartzsite

Long before I began writing blog posts, I made a trip to California and passed through Quartzsite, Arizona.  It is one of those places I would like to return to someday. It is located at the crossroads of Interstate 10 between Phoenix and Los Angeles, and US Highway 95 between Lake Havasu City and Yuma. This area was a gathering place for pioneers on their way to the rich gold fields in California, a way station and hub of activity for travelers going in every direction.  One site in town worth looking into is the marker for Hi Jolly (aka Hadji Ali) became one of the first camel drivers ever hired by the US Army to lead the camel driver experiment in the Southwest. Hi Jolly became a living legend until his death in Arizona in December 1902.

Queen City, Ohio (aka Cincinnati)

Cincinnati Skyline at night as seen from across the Ohio River in Newport, KY
Cincinnati Skyline at night as seen from across the Ohio River in Newport, KY
Ohio River as it flows through Cincinnati, OH
Ohio River as it flows through Cincinnati, OH
Cincinnati's "The Singing Mural" (detail) by C.F. Payne
Cincinnati’s “The Singing Mural” (detail) by C.F. Payne
"The Migration of Tradition" by Tina Westerkamp on Race St. in Cincinnati
“The Migration of Tradition” by Tina Westerkamp on Race St. in Cincinnati
The Mushroom House in Hyde Park area of Cincinnati
The Mushroom House in Hyde Park area of Cincinnati
Sumoflam at Findlay's Market in the Over-the-Rhine District of Cincinnati
Sumoflam at Findlay’s Market in the Over-the-Rhine District of Cincinnati
The old Union Terminal in Cincinnati, now the Museum Center
The old Union Terminal in Cincinnati, now the Museum Center

I had planned not to add any large cities to these posts, but rather those found on the back roads of America.  But, I needed more Q Cities and Cincinnati is known as “The Queen City.”  The classic nickname “Queen City” is taken from the 1854 poem Catawba Wine. In it, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote of the city: “And this Song of the Vine, This greeting of mine, The winds and the birds shall deliver, To the Queen of the West, In her garlands dressed, On the banks of the Beautiful River.” In the 1850s, Cincinnati was the largest westernmost inland city from the East Coast.  There are many wonderful things to see in Cincinnati — a great zoo, fabulous museums, dozens of impressive murals on the sides of buildings and more. Check out one of my posts about Cincinnati HERE or maybe THIS ONE.

Quicksand, Kentucky (Honorable Mention)

Quicksand Bridge in Kentucky
Quicksand Bridge in Kentucky

One place I have yet to visit in Kentucky is the small community of Quicksand, Kentucky.  At one point in the early twentieth century it was the worlds largest lumber producer with its many sawmills. All the sawmills were closed by 1923. Its post office closed in 1996, but it is the home of the University of Kentucky’s Robinson Experimental Substation.  The small town sits alongside the North Fork of the Kentucky on Kentucky Highway 15 south of Jackson, Kentucky. I will visit there soon on a day trip.

Did You Miss My Other A to Z Challenge Posts? Click on a letter below to see the others.

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Learn More About the A to Z Challenge and visit hundreds of other participating blogs (click logo below)

A2Z-BADGE [2016]

A Quirky and Offbeat Weekend in Cincinnati

The Singing Mural - Cincinnati
The Singing Mural – Designed by C.F. Payne

The first week of April 2014 provided a great fun time for my wife and I as we went to Cincinnati for a weekend getaway.  The main reason was to see my good friend Antsy McClain perform with a new “Trailer Park Troubadours” band that included amazing Aussie musician Pauly Zarb and the fabulous finger picking virtuoso Pat Kirtley and his brother.  We decided to make a weekend of it and visit a few places around Cincy that we have not seen yet.

Cincinnati Skyline
Cincinnati Skyline

Our first stop in town was a place that I have wanted to visit for quite a while.  Called the “Mushroom House,” it is truly one of the quirkiest places in the city.  The Mushroom House is located in the Hyde Park District of the city at the corner of Erie Ave. and Tarpis Ave.  It was created by architect/artist Terry Brown (who died in a car accident in Texas in 2008).  As a professor of Architecture and Interior Design at the University of Cincinnati, Brown created the building with the help of university students from 1992 to 2006.

The Mushroom House in Hyde Park area of Cincinnati
The Mushroom House in Hyde Park area of Cincinnati

The house was built using a variety of materials including wood, colored glass, shell, ceramics, and various metals.  Care was taken to craft these materials into irregular shapes like those found in nature.  Following are a few shots of the house I took.

Mushroom House front side
Mushroom House front side
Mushroom House Chimney
Mushroom House Chimney
Mushroom House side wall
Mushroom House side wall
Mushroom House back side
Mushroom House back side
Sumoflam at the Mushroom House in Cincinnati
Sumoflam at the Mushroom House in Cincinnati
One more view of the Mushroom House
One more view of the Mushroom House

From the Mushroom House we made our way to the Over-the-Rhine area of Cincy.  Over-the-Rhine (OTR) has been around since the 1780s and encompasses 362.5 acres of the original German community. The majority of structures are two-, three-, and four-story brick or stone edifices erected in the last half of the 19th century for residential and commercial uses.  All types of architectural styles can be found including Greek Revival, Italianate, and Queen Anne. The area was once one of the largest German-American neighborhoods in the United States.

Historic buildings in the Over-the-Rhine district
Colorful historic buildings in the Over-the-Rhine district

Over-the-Rhine is also home of the Findlay Market.  The Market is touted as Ohio’s oldest continuously operated public market  and is considered one of Cincinnati’s most cherished institutions.

Findlay Market, Cincinnati
Findlay Market, Cincinnati

Findlay Market is home year-around to about two dozen indoor merchants selling meat, fish, poultry, produce, flowers, cheese, deli, and ethnic foods. On Saturdays and Sundays from April to November the Market also hosts a thriving farmer’s market, dozens of outdoor vendors, numerous street performers, and lots of special events.  We got there a little late for the farmer’s market, but had a nice time shopping in the crowded indoor market.

Findlay Market indoor shopping
Findlay Market indoor shopping

We love spices and were thrilled to see a “Gourmet Spice” shop…  Colonel De Gourmet Herbs and Spices has an amazing variety of spices and mixed herbs and spices.  We couldn’t resist the temptations.

Spicing it up at Findlay Market's "Colonel De" Shoppe
Spicing it up at Findlay Market’s “Colonel De” Gourmet Spice Shoppe
Spices Galore!
Spices Galore!
Colonel De's Gourmet Herbs and Spices
Colonel De’s Gourmet Herbs and Spices

We also found some unique Mediterranean pastries, some unique Olive Oils, vinegars and more.  One can find fresh meat, fish, vegetables and lots of other wonderful goodies.

Sumoflam at Findlay's Market in the Over-the-Rhine District of Cincinnati
Sumoflam at Findlay’s Market in the Over-the-Rhine District of Cincinnati
Frank's Fish & Seafood in Findlay Market
Frank’s Fish & Seafood in Findlay Market

All around the neighborhood there are murals and wall art.  Those who follow my blogs know how much I enjoy seeing these great works of art.  There are actually murals all over the city thanks to the ArtWorks organization.  A partial photo listing of many of the great works, including their locations, can be seen here.

Murals on wall near Findlay Market
Murals on wall near Findlay Market represent different shops
Mural representing Findlay Market
Mural representing Findlay Market
Sunflower Wall mural near Findlay Market parking lot
Sunflower Wall mural near Findlay Market parking lot

The most unique mural we saw was a huge one on the side of a building on Race Street called “The Migration of Tradition.” It is a beautiful work made with tiles and paint. It was designed by Tina Westerkamp, another Cincinnati artist.

"The Migration of Tradition" by Tina Westerkamp on Race St. in Cincinnati
“The Migration of Tradition” by Tina Westerkamp on Race St. in Cincinnati
Detail of "The Migration of Tradition"
Detail of “The Migration of Tradition”

All of the shopping and looking piqued our appetites (and it was already 3 PM), so we sought for a local place that offered some vegan faire.  We found a place called Myra’s Dionysus, a small place with an eclectic menu.  They had a variety of Mediterranean Cuisine as well as some other entrees, many of which are vegan.

Sumoflam at Myra's Dionysus in Cincinnati
Sumoflam at Myra’s Dionysus in Cincinnati
Myra's Chalkboard Menu
Myra’s Chalkboard Menu
Inside Myra's - small but clean
Inside Myra’s – small but clean
My meal at Myra's Dionysus - a pesto fettucine, some bread and hummus.
Our appetizer at Myra’s Dionysus – sesame noodles, pita and some tabouli

After our meal we took a drive down the Central Parkway so we could see the mural I had long wanted to visit.  Called “The Singing Mural,” this mural represents the community coming together in celebration of the arts.  It was designed by nationally renowned Cincinnati artist and illustrator C.F. Payne and completed in 2011.  At 25 feet tall and 135 feet long, it is Cincinnati’s largest mural and features some famous faces including Elton John, Bach, Sesame Street’s Grover, Cab Calloway, Beverly Sills, Mr. Rogers and even “Mr. Redlegs.”

Cincinnati's "The Singing Mural" (detail) by C.F. Payne
Cincinnati’s “The Singing Mural” (detail) by C.F. Payne
Another detail of "The Singing Mural"
Another detail of “The Singing Mural”

From the mural it we headed across the river to Hebron, Kentucky to our hotel and then back north to Harrison, Ohio where we would watch the always quirky and fun Antsy McClain and his friends perform.  We visited with them before the show — got to see Antsy’s new grandchild, got to see Pauly (who has been performing in Europe for the past year) and then Pat.

Looking at Antsy's new granddaughter - a real cutie!
Looking at Antsy’s new granddaughter – a real cutie!
Hanging with my Aussie mate Pauly Zarb, who came to the states for a few shows and then back to England
Hanging with my Aussie mate Pauly Zarb, who came to the states for a few shows and then back to England
Kentucky musician Pat Kirtley was on hand to help Antsy.  Pat is an amazing guitarist.  I have known him for about 4 years.
Kentucky musician Pat Kirtley was on hand to help Antsy. Pat is an amazing guitarist. I have known him for about 4 years.
AntsyCincy
Antsy McClain performing live in Cincinnati

After Antsy’s amazing show, Julianne and I returned to the hotel for a good night’s rest (needed!!).  The next morning (late), we headed to Cincinnati’s Northside area for a breakfast brunch at a small eclectic place called Melt. They have an awesome variety of dishes including quite a few vegan and vegetarian dishes.  The food was fabulous!!!

Melt in Cincinnati
Melt in Cincinnati
Great Vegan Brunch at Melt
Great Vegan Brunch at Melt
Melt Cafe
Melt Cafe – Cincinnati
One of Melt's Menu Boards
One of Melt’s Menu Boards

After breakfast we took a drive around the Northside… more murals and a great Graffiti wall reminiscent of what I saw in Toronto a few years ago.

Large Mural on side of building representing the Northside district
Large Mural on side of building representing the Northside district
Artist at work on Graffiti wall in Northside
Artist at work on Graffiti wall in Northside
Colorful Graffiti wall in Northside of Cincinnati
Colorful Graffiti wall in Northside of Cincinnati
More colorful graffiti in Northside
More colorful graffiti in Northside
Graffiti everywhere - very colorful
Graffiti everywhere – very colorful
Sumoflam at Northside graffiti walls
Sumoflam at Northside graffiti walls

A few blocks away was another giant mural on the side of a building.  It too was unique and really stood out….

Tall mural on side of a building in Cincinnati's Northside
Tall mural on side of a building in Cincinnati’s Northside

Sadly, all things mus come to an end.  After a drive around the Northside, it was back on the road south to Lexington.